All posts by reneeinnd


I had a strangely quiet afternoon on Tuesday, and when my only late afternoon appointment cancelled, I went home. I felt  tired, slightly unwell, and really crabby.

I was crabby for several reasons. It is bitterly cold out most of this week. Our local paper just announced it is going to be published only weekly starting in March.  Since January 4th,  our mail has been  delivered a total of four times.  The last time it was delivered there were five pieces of mail belonging to a couple who live on the next block. I delivered it to them myself.  We are told that the carrier for our route quit, and our mail will only be delivered if other carriers have time. They are in the process of hiring, and suggest we have our mail held at the post office for us to pick up ourselves until we have a regular carrier.  Who has time to do that? Grrr! I wrote my congressman about this even though I don’t care for him and he makes me crabby, too.

I also was crabby due to the frustrating work of getting all the necessary documentation for an  appointment later in the week to get my REAL ID.  That is the identification card/drivers license that one needs to have after 10/2020 to use as an ID for air travel.  My driver’s license expires February 1, so it was time to get the new ID. There are very specific requirements for the documents so that there is primary source verification of identity and address. Do you think I could find my Social Security card?  Of course not. I am thankful that my most recent W-2 form came in one of the two mail deliveries this week so I can use that to provide proof of my Social Security number.

I am a government employee and I am pretty used to the slow workings of the bureaucracy.  That said, I really hope that the bureaucracy is in good fighting trim and all my documents are the right ones and sufficiently current to make my appointment at the DOT go smoothly this week.

What makes you crabby? Are you getting the REAL ID? Got any good bureaucracy tales?

Sent Forth

Yesterday was a day of sitting and people watching in airports.  In Minneapolis, we waited  for our flight to Sioux Falls at a gate where people were boarding a  plane to La Crosse , WI.  For some reason, several  of them were preoccupied with their phones and nearly missed the flight.  Husband is a U of W grad, and I took delight teasing him about the strangely disoriented Badger passengers getting on the flight to Wisconsin. I suggested they were too drowsy from eating all that cheese.  Husband joked that the Badger motto was “Don’t bother me, I’m watching the game”.  I told him that my college motto rather loftily described me as an “informed person sent forth  to influence the affairs of the world at the same time being dedicated to the Christian  life.” Sometimes I think I would rather watch the game and eat cheese.

What motto from college or high school or family are you supposed to live up to? How are you doing with that?


Planning Ahead

Now that Christmas Day is over, husband and Daughter and I started talking about a trip next December to Austria.  Daughter has lots of exciting ideas and brings up infinite possibilities. Husband is dour, and says he just wants to be away from the US and all the holiday hysteria the week of the 25th, while Daughter wants to be gone in early December.  Prague is a must, as is Hallestadt, Austria.  I just don’t want to be rushed and stressed. We will spend the next couple of months debating and discussing, and then we will consult with a travel agent. Planning ahead sometimes isn’t easy with a bunch of opinionated people.

How do you and your family plan ahead? How do your plans work out?

Lefse and Weltschmerz

Our son sent me a text earlier this week along with this photo:

“This is how low I’ve had to stoop to mimic your lefse”.

“It tastes like mediocrity and sadness. As if some underappreciated Norse lady made it sacrificing quality for quantity. It causes me great Weltschmerz”.

I am sure that there are many people who gladly eat Mrs. Olson’s potato lefse and really like it.  My son is pretty spoiled. I am making lefse today and bringing several packages with me in my suitcase to Brookings on Monday.

I understand his Weltschmerz, his world weariness and melancholy, especially now that  Christmas is over and the new year looms ahead with all its uncertainty. I combat it with baking and catnaps.

Where is your Weltschmerz meter at these days? What causes your Weltschmerz? How do you  cope with the inadequacy and imperfection of this world?



Favorite Meals

Our daughter is home and is relishing being spoiled and waited on. She works hard as an intensive in-home family therapist in Tacoma  and is really burned out right now.  She doesn’t like sea food,  which is unfortunate  given how close she lives  to the sea,  and has been craving beef.  She and I are planning favorite meals for her while she is home.  Roast beef, garlic mashed potatoes, turkey chipotle chowder, and pasta with this special tomato sauce I make are her requests. It is good to have her here.

What were your favorite meals at home?  What didn’t you like?  What special meals does  your  family request?

Giving and Receiving

Well, it is Christmas  Day.  We will rendezvous with daughter later this morning in Bismarck  and haul her home. Then we will open presents and she will presumably fall asleep until supper.

We have three presents for her under the tree, and one from her to  her dad. My present from her was a tomten with a 2 feet tall hat that doubles as an Advent calendar.  All we got for each other was our fresh,  mail order  Christmas  tree. Son and family will get their presents next week when we travel to Brookings. I appreciate  that in our family we only get each other simple, useful things. (Daughter believes it is essential that I get something tomten related every year). The cats got nary a present, as they  share the tree with us.

What did you get? What did you give? What were your best and worst Christmas presents ever?



A Christmas Visitor

I read with great delight a recent story about a family who found  a live Eastern Screech Owl in their Christmas tree. The little owl had apparently been the tree in their living room for about a week. They didn’t notice it when they decorated the tree.  Many of their ornaments  were owl shaped, so the hitchhiker blended right in. I was surprised it didn’t hoot or move much.

The family contacted a rescue organization  that caught the owl and fed it up and got it back into the wild. The woman who found the owl in her tree was pretty delighted and said she felt a pretty special bond with the little owl.  The native people Husband works with believe owls are portents of death. We all have different relationships with animals.

Any good owl stories? What animals have you had special bonds with? Have you ever had unexpected visitors?